Patterico's Pontifications

10/28/2014

New York Times: Doctor in NYC Was Not Symptomatic; New York Times: Doctor in NYC Was Symptomatic

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 am



The New York Times editorial board lectures the rubes:

Lost in this grandstanding was one essential point. The danger to the public in New York in the case of Dr. Craig Spencer, who had worked in Guinea for Doctors Without Borders, was close to nonexistent. Health experts are virtually unanimous in declaring that people infected with the virus do not become contagious until after they develop a fever or other symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or severe headaches, at which time they need to be hospitalized and taken out of circulation.

Health care workers like Dr. Spencer know that it is in their interest to ensure that — if symptoms do arise — they get care quickly to improve their chances of survival and to reduce the risk of infecting their friends and families. Dr. Spencer reported his temperature promptly when it was a low-grade fever of a 100.3 degrees and was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center for isolation and treatment while his fiancée and two friends were put into voluntary isolation.

The New York Times (which is the very same paper in which the editorial board’s pompous sermonizing appears) from October 23:

Dr. Spencer, 33, had traveled on the A and L subway lines Wednesday night, visited a bowling alley in Williamsburg, and then took a taxi back to Manhattan.

. . . .

Dr. Spencer began to feel sluggish on Tuesday but did not develop a fever until Thursday morning, he told the authorities. At 11 a.m., he found that he had a 100.3-degree temperature and alerted the staff of Doctors Without Borders, according to the official.

Sluggish, you say? What are the symptoms of Ebola, according to the CDC?

Symptoms of Ebola include

Fever
Severe headache
Muscle pain
Weakness
Diarrhea
Vomiting
Abdominal (stomach) pain
Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Last time I checked, sluggish means weak.

Let’s stop saying the doctor had no symptoms of Ebola while he was gallivanting about town, New York Times editors. Per your own paper’s reporting, it’s just not true.

57 Responses to “New York Times: Doctor in NYC Was Not Symptomatic; New York Times: Doctor in NYC Was Symptomatic”

  1. Is it evil to wish for a floor trader at the NYSE to have a bad burrito for lunch and throw up in the middle of everybody just so I can see what reaction it provokes?

    nk (dbc370)

  2. I’m very surprised that those in charge of dealing with Ebola have chosen to present it to people like it is HIV.

    Dejectedhead (a094a6)

  3. It’s obvious even the people who work at The New York Times don’t read The New York Times.

    navyvet (edabdc)

  4. There was a link yesterday with a government bioweapons/emerging diseases expert that claimed people with Ebola never get a fever about 12% of the time, or some such.

    When the consequences are so significant, it seems to me the “abundance of caution” approach is a good idea, even while saying the risk to the general public is low.

    So, how about keeping the risk to the general public low.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  5. Oh what a tangle web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

    Obama and his various failures of leadership have caused the Media to
    have to resort to so many twists and turns and back bending gymnastics to
    keep from showing even a scintilla of proof of his ineptitude that they
    have lost all credibility, all respect, most all their readership.

    And all so as to sustain a lie that even they know is doing no one any good.

    And so they wind up at odds with themselves.

    jakee308 (d409c2)

  6. I listened yesterday to a number of radio personalities lecturing the public on why we shouldn’t panic–that you can only contract Ebola by coming into contact with bodily fluids. I don’t think we really know whether that’s true or not–especially since the virus continues to mutate.

    I agree that considering how dangerous the disease is, we should err on the side of caution, not just err.

    rochf (f3fbb0)

  7. Pompous bloviators saddled with short term memory loss makes for amusing spectacles on an ongoing basis.

    Enjoy it we much!

    Colonel Haiku (c0421f)

  8. Lest we forget.

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-1012-ebola-fever-20141012-story.html#page=1

    For public health workers screening more than 1,000 air travelers who arrive each week in the United States from Ebola-stricken West Africa, one symptom above all others is supposed to signal danger: fever.

    So long as an individual’s temperature does not exceed 101.5 degrees and there are no visible symptoms of Ebola, health authorities say it should be assumed the person is not infectious.

    …The study, sponsored by the World Health Organization and published online late last month by the New England Journal of Medicine, analyzed data on 3,343 confirmed and 667 probable cases of Ebola.

    The finding that 87.1% of those infected exhibited fever — but 12.9% did not — illustrates the challenges confronting health authorities as they struggle to contain the epidemic.

    U.S. health officials have repeatedly emphasized that fever is a reliable sign of infectiousness…

    …Three studies of previous outbreaks, cited in the same World Health Organization report, provide further grounds to question whether fever is a fail-safe signal…

    …For doctors and nurses fighting the epidemic in West Africa, the risk of encountering Ebola in the absence of fever is more than academic.

    Dr. Nick Zwinkels, a Dutch physician, last month closed a hospital he had been running with a colleague in central Sierra Leone after five nursing aides contracted Ebola — possibly from unprotected contact with three patients who were not promptly diagnosed with the virus.

    …Interviewed by email, Zwinkels said that hospital staff members took the temperature of one of the doomed patients four times a day for three consecutive days, and the patient never showed a fever. The readings were taken by a digital thermometer placed in the armpit, he said.

    Based on what his staff observed, Zwinkels wrote, “it seems that only measuring the temperature as a form of triage is insufficient.”

    Insufficient. Yes, that sums up this administration’s response to Ebola.

    Steve57 (e92787)

  9. Any time I hear any left-wing organization (like the NYT) say that “scientists are virtually unanimous” about anything, I figure we’re being conned.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  10. Let me posit this idea. I think the open borders left want to infect the US with Ebola.

    PCD (39058b)

  11. Anyone remember the Apollo moon landings? Those astronauts were kept in isolation to be sure they didn’t bring back intergalactic bugs. Oh, I forgot, they were white and the people we want to keep out are black.

    PCD (39058b)

  12. Oh, the Obama administration is the JV team for the world.

    PCD (39058b)

  13. 11. PCD (39058b) — 10/28/2014 @ 11:15 am

    Anyone remember the Apollo moon landings? Those astronauts were kept in isolation to be sure they didn’t bring back intergalactic bugs.

    I know. And that was stupid. I thought so at the time. But of course they agreed because there seemed to be no harm. So why not do something stupid and unnecessary? It would satisfy people who imagined that maybe the universe was organized differently than what it was.

    They weren’t isolated for 21 days, either. twenty one days is a LOT.

    Now Gov Christie says 24 hours and a negative ebola test is enough – and that that is all he wanted???

    One problem with that: New jersey wasn’t the first heavuily populated ebola free place they touched down on.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  14. Obama finishes strange speech with nonsensical answer to why rules differ for civilians and military returning from ebola hot zones. Truly awesome!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  15. I think by other symptoms they mean things like severe pain, especially abdominal, and vomiting and diarreah, which usually come after the fever, not a general feeling of being run down. If there was a home WBC (white blood cell) test, they could use that. That would probably shoot up before a fever

    Of course both of the last could mean an infection with anything, and even for people coming from the ebola zone, it’s usually not ebola, like it wasn’t and isn’t with the 6 year old boy from Guinea. (they are not letting him out of the hospital till they redo the tets, but on the otehr hand they are not decontaminaing the apartment either)

    Of course the doctors and nurses were most definitely near ebola, so the odds are higher that if there is something wrong, it’s ebola..

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  16. I’m telling you, Barack “Kunta Kinte’s Revenge” Obama wants Ebola in America.

    nk (dbc370)

  17. “Now Gov Christie says 24 hours and a negative ebola test is enough – and that that is all he wanted???”

    Sammy – Where is he saying that?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  18. “Now Gov Christie says 24 hours and a negative ebola test is enough – and that that is all he wanted???”

    daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 10/28/2014 @ 12:25 pm

    Sammy – Where is he saying that?

    Maybe on teh TODAY show or some otehr interview. I read this.

    Here is one source (that has a complete timeline)

    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/10/ebola_timeline_of_events_actions_by_chris_christie.html

    Oct. 27, afternoon: Christie insisted during a campaign stop he hasn’t reversed his decision on mandatory quarantines and Hickox was discharged from the hospital after no displaying symptoms for 24 hours. “If she was continuing to be ill she’d have to stay. She hadn’t had any symptoms for 24 hours and she tested negative for Ebola,” he said. “So there was no reason to keep her.”

    Here it is, on video:

    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/10/chris_christie_insists_ebola_quarantine_measures_not_scaled_back.html

    Maybe he emans that’s all he wanted as far as keeping her in New Jersey. But he didn’t say that before.

    It is all right for Governor Christie to say that there was no reason to keep her – in the plastic bag at least – if she had a negative result on an ebola test, and no fever after 24 hours – but that is indeed a change from what he was going to do originally (maybe the news reports are wrong that he said he didn’t scale it back – they like to distort)

    Meanwhile in Maine, her live-in boyfrioend has been given a choice: Either stay with her or go to college where he is studying to also be a nurse, but he can’t do both. This would be a secondary quarantine.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  19. Actually maybe Gov Christioe had no idea what the doctors or his people were going to do originally.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  20. I’m tired a lot too. Sometimes I come down with something, usually I do not.

    Again, Thomas Duncan in five days with fever and digestive symptoms infected not one person out of the scores he came into contact with, including the four people in that apartment with him. The chance that this fellow Spencer infected anyone by riding the subway is pretty minimal and the bowling alley has been fumigated.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  21. She did show a fever at one point the second time it was taken at the airport, but I think said that was because they used the wrong kind of thermometer, or a THERMOMETER IN THE WRONG WAY (?), and also she was hysterical.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  22. N.B. the median incubation period is 7 days. You would ordinarily expect about half the people Spencer infected to have manifested illness by now. We’re not seeing anything and even the fiancee is not sick.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  23. New York Times on the possibility of getting ebola from abowling ball: (online Oct 23 and in the printed newspaper today in the Science section)

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/23/can-you-get-ebola-from-a-bowling-ball

    Q: Can you get Ebola from a bowling ball?

    A. Dr. Craig Spencer, the patient with Ebola currently in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center, went bowling in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn on Wednesday evening. According to city health officials, he had been taking his temperature twice a day since he left Guinea on Oct. 14. His temperature was normal on Wednesday evening, and he did not yet have any other symptoms, such as nausea or diarrhea. Ebola experts say the disease cannot be transmitted before the appearance of symptoms.

    Although the surface of a shared bowling ball is a likely place to find germs — and some people avoid bowling for this very reason — it is extremely unlikely that Ebola could be passed that way. There is no evidence that it has been passed, as colds or flu sometimes are, by touching surfaces that someone else touched after sneezing into their hand. Ebola is normally passed through contact with blood, vomit or diarrhea.

    If someone left blood, vomit or feces on a bowling ball, and the next person to touch it did not even notice, and then put his fingers into his eyes, nose or mouth, it might be possible. But, the Ebola virus does not not normally build up to high levels in saliva or mucus until very late in the disease — several days after the initial fever sets in — and it is unlikely that someone that ill would have just gone bowling. Also, the Ebola virus is fragile and susceptible to drying out. It does not normally survive for more than a few hours on a hard, dry surface.

    So now wait.

    Here, ebola survives for only a few hours (qualified by “normally”) on a hard dry surface.

    They also do not counting feeling a bit run down as a symptom.

    In the New York Daily News, there was a column yesterday with a similar idea:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/donohue-ebola-patient-craig-spencer-trains-article-1.1988045

    I’ve been asking the MTA for more than three weeks what — if anything — it was doing in preparation for the possibility that Ebola rode the subway. The answer was pretty much boiled down to this: It was taking a backseat.

    “We are following the direction of state health officials,” an MTA official said Oct. 10. “Numerous health officials have said it is safe to ride the subway because the virus does not live long on nonporous surfaces like subway seats and poles.”

    Besides, the official said, “anyone sick enough to be contagious is probably too sick to get on the subway.”

    Of course they talked to those state health officials before Governor Christie talked to Governor Cuomo.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  24. 21. Art Deco (ee8de5) — 10/28/2014 @ 12:43 pm

    The chance that this fellow Spencer infected anyone by riding the subway is pretty minimal and the bowling alley has been fumigated.

    The persopn I would judge to be most at risk was the 60-year old man who washed the clothes his fiancee took to the dry cleaner on Wednesday.

    No health department officials caught up with him, at least not before the New York Post did.

    He was a contact of his fiancee, not him. But the clothes!!

    Of course it was rather unlikely to be dangerous at that point – he didn’t vomit till Thirsday morning – and the process of cleaning would kind of destroy the virus.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  25. Patterico: I think the New York Times editorial did not contradict its reporting >i> even when taken hyperliterally:

    New York Times editorial:

    people infected with the virus do not become contagious until after they develop a fever or other symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or severe headaches, at which time they need to be hospitalized and taken out of circulation.

    I think you are not parsing this correctly.

    It is:

    people infected with the virus do not become contagious until….

    A. after they develop a fever

    OR

    B. other symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or severe headaches

    While Weakness is a symptom, it doesn’t say:

    or another symptom

    But…

    or other symptoms, such as..

    Symptoms is plural, meaning at least two.

    So it is fever alone, or two or more other symptoms.

    And Dr. Spencer had only one – weaknesss – one not even mentioned in the editorial.

    QED.

    Now of course I wouldn’t take it that hyperliterally, that you need two, but by the same token, I don’t think anybdy really thought weakness alone was a symptom of being contagious.

    It’s really fever, or the other 6:

    Severe headache
    Muscle pain
    Diarrhea
    Vomiting
    Abdominal (stomach) pain
    Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising).

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  26. I frequently gallivant about town but an unclear on the concept of gallivating.

    tom hynes (d7b14a)

  27. Did Sammah just accuse someone of being hyperliteral?! F F S

    JD (285732)

  28. Oh, the Obama administration is the JV team for the world.

    they aren’t that competent.

    they wouldn’t even make the cut to try out for the intramural teams, let alone get selected.

    redc1c4 (dab236)

  29. Sammy – The following press release seems to be the best description of New Jersey’s quarantine policy:

    http://www.state.nj.us/governor/news/news/552014/approved/20141026c.html

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  30. President Obama was asked at the end of his press conference why there seemed to be a difference in quarantine policy for health care workers returning from West Africa and for members of the military.

    Obama replied that our quarantine policy is based on the best science and that we do not want to discourage health care workers from going to West Africa to fight the disease voluntarily, that we should applaud them for that. He went on to say that the military is not in West Africa voluntarily.

    What I don’t understand maybe because I am not a member of the liberal intellectual elite, is how the the distinction between the two groups made by the president changes TEH SCIENCE used to create quarantine protocols to keep people in this country safe. He also said people in the military are not being exposed to ebola in West Africa, which on the surface would seem to argue for weaker quarantine protocols than the health care workers who are directly exposed to ebola, but I’m not a scientist like Obama.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  31. tom – Is gallivanting similar to a D&D?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  32. “Because Science!”

    – el Presidente Barranquilla Obola

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  33. Spencer said he felt awful.

    He knew where he’d been.

    He could have become very febrile and shedding virus – before frank vomiting or severe diarrhea began.

    In fact in that twilight zone there’s a fair chance aerosolization from plain old public toilets is a risk.
    People seem to have no appreciation for how much fecal matter they are exposed to on a regular basis. Wash your hands? Yay for you. But there are other people who don’t.

    SarahW (267b14)

  34. I read accounts of him having muscle aches, feeling bad, tired.
    That’s the time to stay the fark home, not go jamming your fingers into rented bowling balls.

    I swear sometimes I think this virus has evolved replication success by making people who are about to be sick, restless, anxious to get out and about, and disabling risk-sense. Some part of the left hemisphere that lets the right (in charge of denial) take over and say “no worries”

    SarahW (267b14)

  35. I mean I’m perfectly healthy except for a pinched finger and three weeks of Netflix and reddit and delivered groceries sounds like deprivation I could bear.

    SarahW (267b14)

  36. I’m so glad you are she who is healthy

    I never got closure on the rear end collision thing but sounds like u beat it

    happyfeet (0c73e9)

  37. Well, I haven’t leaked presumed cerebral spinal fluid out of my nose for about two and a half weeks, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

    SarahW (267b14)

  38. I gave up on the rest. Some of what’s busted stays busted.
    I don’t care for stopping at stoplights now where you have to sit like a shaky duck. (drunk Guy lost control coming round the bend, and smashed the back half of my FlEXO wagon)

    SarahW (267b14)

  39. tom hynes,

    Sigh. Thanks. Fixed.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  40. Patterico: I think the New York Times editorial did not contradict its reporting even when taken hyperliterally:

    Sammy,

    I wouldn’t expect you to take it any other way.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  41. people infected with the virus do not become contagious until….

    A. after they develop a fever

    OR

    B. other symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or severe headaches

    While Weakness is a symptom, it doesn’t say:

    or another symptom

    But…

    or other symptoms, such as..

    Symptoms is plural, meaning at least two.

    So it is fever alone, or two or more other symptoms.

    Indeed, Sammy. If someone coming down with Ebola is throwing up all over you, that’s only one symptom, so they’re not contagious. QED.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  42. Part of why I was glad to leave LA was I was never comfortable on freeways there after this weirdo went out of control and hit me

    U see it all happening and there’s nothing u can do

    Thank God this never happens in Chicago

    happyfeet (0c73e9)

  43. googlecar will make everything more better

    But that’s in the future

    happyfeet (0c73e9)

  44. Wow. Somehow I missed that SarahW. Glad to hear you’re not leaking CSF and have only a pinched finger.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  45. I am lucky it was a pinch. I was luckily wearing gloves and the glove came off instead of the bad kind of degloving.

    SarahW (267b14)

  46. I have to think they’ll need google roads to go with the google cars. A commuter strip or something.

    SarahW (267b14)

  47. the cars will be very smart like marie harf

    it’s a lot to get your head around

    happyfeet (0c73e9)

  48. feets – Is that google car gonna be as successful as the Chevy Volt which has now racked up 69,000 vehicles sold in this country since 2010!!!!!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  49. Why don’t we hear much about the amazing success of that Volt thinger anymore?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  50. well plus the Leaf

    happyfeet (c78917)

  51. good you’re on the mend, SarahW! Between drunks and idiots texting while driving, it’s a wonder any drivers survive.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  52. The author of “Tao of badass” is Joshua Pellicer, who outlines how to be successful with women by being a badass.

    joshua pellicer (c25bfa)

  53. Do you think dating is only dominated by the young? That can’t be right, do you think so? Are you saying old folks can’t hold hands and show affection to each other in public places just like the way youngsters do? Or perhaps you’ve never seen people in their 50s, 60s or even 70s dating and you make a conclusion that says dating only belongs to people in their 20s, 30s and 40s? Do you even think elderly couples need to date in places that are invisible to public? You’d better think again. There must be reasons why elderly men and women meet and have boyfriend and girlfriend like relationship.

    click on this link (7b5b81)

  54. Is dating only for youngsters? You don’t believe the ridiculous myth, do you? Being romantic in public places aren’t acceptable for the elderly? Or perhaps you even have your own opinion that suggests dating is not for seniors? If they can manage to find a boyfriend or girlfriend, do they need to date in a quiet manner? You need to think again about this. Have you thought of the reasons why elderly people have relationship to their opposite sex?

    go to this link (19f7fe)


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